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Local boy scouts can now enjoy restored cabin from early founder of the program

At an over 500-acre scouting reservation in the Poconos, an historic cabin harkening back to the founding of the Boy Scouts of America was reconstructed and upgraded.

“Founded in the past, relocated in the present, reconstructed for the future. We dedicate this Dan Beard Cabin ... for the future scouting at Goose Pond Scout Reservation and in the Northeastern Pennsylvania Council," said Bryan Fisk, cabin committee chair for the Northeastern Pennsylvania Council of Boy Scouts of America.

The council held a dedication ceremony for the cabin on Sunday, April 6.

Daniel Carter Beard was one of the founders of Boy Scouts of America. In the early 1900s, he had a camp for young men at what is now Woodloch Resorts. When the resort was expanding 20 years ago, they asked the local boy scouts council if they wanted his cabin that was still on the grounds.

They first turned it down for financial reasons, said Fisk. But in 2008, the council agreed to take it with one caveat: reconstructing the cabin could not take away from the main program of the council.

The structure was disassembled and its logs stored in the back lot of Simplex, a modular home building company.

“Little did we know that it take at least 10 years, with those trailers sitting at Simplex, for us to start to raise enough money that we could get to the point where we thought we might be able to build the cabin," Fisk said.

In 2018, a foundation with a basement was constructed and as Fisk put it, they began the jigsaw puzzle of putting the logs back together. The cabin now has a new roof, floor and windows. The fireplace was rebuilt with most of its original stones.

In the early 1900s, Beard, a naturalist, an illustrator and a writer, was concerned that as society became more urbanized American boys were drifting away from the pioneer spirit and the pioneer self-reliance, said Kevin Bishop, scout executive for Boy Scouts of America.

"He was concerned that the kids were not as capable of taking care of themselves," he said.

Beard’s camp in the Poconos taught the boys of the time to be comfortable in nature, self-reliant and to take care of other people, among other lessons. Other similar programs were also developing around the same time including the Boy Scouts program in England.

Today, the organization now offers family scouting and provides programs for girls with those same lessons.

The Honorable Jennifer Rogers is the local council president. The Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas judge said growing up she was a Girl Scout but watched her brothers go through Boy Scouts and wished the opportunity to be an Eagle Scout was available to her.

Now, with family scouting programs, young women have that chance.

“The life lessons that that gives you, the character development that that gives you, the opportunity for future entree to other opportunities within your life is now afforded to girls just as equally as it is boys," Rogers said. "And I think that's a wonderful development.”

 The Honorable Jennifer Rogers, president of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Council of Boy Scouts of American, speaks during the Dan Beard Cabin dedication.
Kat Bolus
The Honorable Jennifer Rogers, president of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Council of Boy Scouts of American, speaks during the Dan Beard Cabin dedication.

Goose Pond Scout Reservation was established in 1920. The cabin restoration is among a few upgrades happening at the grounds. There’s a climbing tower and ropes course. Scouts swim, boat and sail on the reservation’s lake. They do archery and learn how to shoot a rifle, study nature and do handicrafts.

Rogers said the cabin and the camp are full of legacy and history.

“A person's love of nature, a person's sense of adventure, a person's curiosity, in this case, a child's sense of curiosity, that hasn't changed," she said. "So that information is just as relevant and viable today … And we're just thrilled to be able to preserve it.”

Kat Bolus is the community reporter for the newly-formed WVIA News Team. She is a former reporter and columnist at The Times-Tribune, a Scrantonian and cat mom.